A Man’s Gotta Ramble
I haven’t written much lately, and now I have a bunch of things to ramble on about–no big main topic today.
I was a bad boy this morning; I took a very long, hot shower.Not that I was being indulgent in the midst of a drought, but 6 days of ceassless coughing had me talking, again, to the Kaiser Advice nurce show suggested that the warm moist air would be good for unclogging my lungs. It works–I’m breathing better than I have in days.
These damn summer colds are a slow, weary pain. Viral in nature, they don’t respond to antibiotics so you can’t get them cleared up with a Z-pack or course of Amoxicillin. You just have to miserably soldier through, powering down hot tea and honey, cough drops and hot showers. Of course, at bedtime there is the best of all cures–Thera-Flu, tea, honey and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. A good nights sleep won’t cure the cold, but enough bourbon and you’ll feel better in the morning anyway.
The situation in Greece has been very interesting this week. The people were asked to vote on whether or not to accept a bailout deal which would include even more austerity cuts. The last five years of austerity have cratered the Greek economy, leading to 25% unemployment, so it is no surprise that they aren’t eager for more of the same.
Big business and big banks, though, want the bailout on any terms because they will get back the money they have loaned Greece, at the expense of the populace. If you noticed, all the new articles leading up to today’s elections have been rosy about the referendum receiving a “yes” vote, or saying that the election was too close to call. Greek television only showed demonstrations for the “yes’ vote. That was pure propaganda, desperately trying to sway the election.
When the results came in today, NO won 61% to 39%. The propaganda program failed miserably, just as the austerity program has.
I understand that the French and the Germans have no desire to continue funding a country where people retire at 50 and cheating on your taxes is the norm. I also know that Lord Keynes was right, and you have to spend your way out of an economic disaster. Yes, those two statements are in opposition, and that’s why I’m glad I’m not a central banker in Europe right now.
Some good news–our friend Nyles Gregory has been looking for a job in the Bay Area for almost 10 yeas (while working for the Park department in Pasadena) and perseverance paid off. He is going to work in Berkelely, in a better job at more money. Now he can stop commuting every other week to visit his sweetie, Gail’s friend Reed.
To celebrate, we went out to FARM at the Carneros Inn, one of our favorite places. Instead of sitting down to dinner, we chose to sit in their outdoor arcade, where there are comfortable seats and sofas, low tables and a beautiful fire pit. We started with some fancy champagne Reed brought:
The restaurant charges $25 if you bring in your own bottle, which is still much cheaper than what they mark up Dom Perignon. This is a “brut”, which means sweet, which means I like it, since I have the sweet tooth of a 4 year old. I have no idea why somebody thought it would be cool to use the word “dry” to mean not-sweet, and I never get the concept of a dry liquid. IPerhaps the reason I don’t drink is that it’s just too confusing for me. It looks nice, though.
We ordered food, and things took a turn for the worse. FARM has always had an excellent, thoroughly trained waitstaff, ready to explain all the intricacies of the complex dishes they produce. I don’t know where they got the waitress we had, but she had no clue.
Because it was such a special occasion, we thought we’d start with the caviar. Well, we ordered it first at least. ALL the other appetizers we ordered came, at once, first. They were excellent, as we have come to expect. They just weren’t caviar.
In fact, she forgot it. We had to tell her again what we wanted.
Finishing the caviar, we ordered a couple more dishes, and a bottle of champagne. The house was having some special event centered around Veuve Cliquot, so that’s what we ordered. The waitress said they were out. Then she went back to get the cheese plate. Then we asked again about the champagne, and she managed to find a bottle.
The cheese plate arrived, but I was underwhelmed. It sure looked like three servings of the exact same cheese to me, so I asked our server what we had. She replied, “a goats milk scheese, a sheeps milk cheese and a cows milk cheese.” You will understand if I didn’t find that answer either responsive or convincing.
Servers shouldn’t lie–if they don’t know, they are supposed to find out the answer, not make something up. I asked her what one of the items accompanying the cheeses was, and she told me “those are pearls infused with tapioca.” Gibberish. The pearls ARE the tapioca.
I could go on, but you get the point. We had an untrained, untrustworthy, less than acceptable waitress. I still like FARM, but my respect has been considerably diminished. The front of house manager has some work to do.
Am I the only one noticing our economy getting inflated as hell? We bought 2 loaves of bread last week for a party and it came to almost $10–that’s absurd. The corn that used to be 10¢ an ear is 3 for a dollar.
I see cities making a big deal out of raising the minimum wage, and then I wonder what difference it is going to make–employers just have to raise prices and the new wages don’t buy any more than the old.
Berkeley institued a tax on sugared drinks, and we raised prices to cover the tax, as did everyone else.
I feel like this is insidious, like nobody is particularly noticing that we’re all floating in money while the buying power keeps shrinking and we’re barely keeping even without being aware of it.